Poser 8 Revealed: Creating and Applying Materials - Part 1
Do you remember when television went from black and white to color? How about when computers went from black and white to color? What about PDAs? Adding colors and materials to objects adds an entire new dimension to the scene and the same is true with Poser figures.
After loading and posing a figure, you can add many details to the scene using materials. Materials are coverings used for the various elements in the scene. They can be as simple as a color, or as complex as a full texture with bumps and highlights.
You can load Poser materials, like many other facets of Poser, from the Library palette or create them by hand using the controls found in the Material Room. Within the Material Room is the Shader Window, which includes two different interface panels. The Simple panel includes only basic material properties such as Diffuse Color, Highlights, Ambient, Reflection, Bump, and Transparency. The Advanced panel includes an interface for compositing nodes to create multi-layer materials.
Advanced materials are created using sets of values called nodes, which are combined in such a way that one node controls the value of a connected node. Every node includes a Value Input and a Value Output icon that can be connected, forming a chain of values. You can create several categories of nodes, including a set for performing mathematical functions, a category to control different lighting models, and several 2D and 3D textures that can be manipulated using values.
You can enable several specific material properties such as subsurface scattering and refraction using the scripts found in the Wacros palette.
You also can smooth or facet adjacent polygons by setting the global or local Crease Angle value. Smoothing groups can also be established using the Group Editor to define which polygons are smoothed together. To apply materials to certain sections of a figure, you can create custom material groups using the Grouping Tool and the Group Editor.
You can use the Material Room to access several scene materials such as lights, backgrounds, and atmospheric effects. Effects such as depth cueing and volume fog can add to the ambience of a scene.
LEARN THE MATERIAL ROOM INTERFACE
You open the Material Room by clicking the Material tab at the top of the Poser interface or by selecting the Render, Materials (Ctrl/Command+U) menu command. This opens an interface setup that is different from the Pose Room, as shown in Figure 8-1, although it includes all of the same controls as the Pose Room, including the Document Window, the Camera and Light controls, the Document Display Style and Editing Tools button sets. The main interface found in the Material Room is the Shader Window.
When the Material Room is opened, you can load materials from the Library. Chapter 2, “Using the Poser Library,” covers using the Library palette.
Some third-party vendors combine several material definitions into a single MAT file. These MAT files have been replaced by the newer MC6 and MCZ formats in Poser 6, but if you change the extension of a MAT file to MC6, it can be opened in Poser 8.